Wed Aug 04 05:29am EDT
The Boston Celtics are close to signing Shaquille O'Neal(notes), according to Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears. But NBA.com reports that if he puts his signature on the proposed contract, Shaq will be doing something he's never done consistently before in 18 years as a pro: come off the bench.
If O'Neal signs with Boston, he'll be backing up Jermaine O'Neal(notes), who played 70 games last season for the Miami Heat, averaging 13.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. Shaq averaged 12 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in the 53 games he appeared in for the Cleveland Cavaliers. And both will be waiting for the return of starter Kendrick Perkins(notes), which is planned for January. His return from knee surgery will make some adjustments to playing time necessary.
If Shaq can't find an NBA contender to sign a contract with, the 38-year-old four-time NBA champ will retire, NBA.com reports.
Spears notes that O'Neal hinted at his interest in playing for Boston during an appearance on the "Jimmy Kimmel Live" show on Monday. "Celtics would be a good program," he said.
Follow Yahoo! Sports Rumors on Twitter at @markjmill.